Pakistan is a high risk country because of its unstable security situation. However, due to the country’s vast population, there is significant potential for a sizeable market for consumer-orientated businesses as the purchasing power of individuals improves. Pakistan's close geopolitical ties with China should also ensure that it benefits from China's rise, through growing trade and investment.

We keep our clients informed of the latest market moves and political developments in Pakistan, as part of our 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' perspective. Clients also benefit from in-depth analysis on 16 of Pakistan’s most important industries. We provide interactive data and forecasting alongside detailed and risk-assessed analysis from our expert research teams. We aim to keep you one step ahead, so you can operate with confidence in Pakistan.

Country Risk

Pakistan Country Risk

BMI View:

Core Views:

  • While the Pakistan government has had some success in reducing the number of terrorist attacks over the past 18 months, progress on addressing its root causes under the National Action Plan has been much less promising. Aside from the still-considerable potential for terrorist attacks, the lack of free speech and the growing use of blasphemy laws will make it difficult for the country to attract foreign investment.

  • We forecast the Pakistani economy to grow by 4.2% in FY2016/17, after an estimated growth rate of 4.7% in FY2015/16. Strong growth momentum and an expansionary budget will be supportive factors, but the rise in global oil prices will remove a major growth tailwind.

  • We are revising up our forecast for the Pakistani rupee, now expecting the SBP to maintain the current peg at roughly PKR104.7/USD, where it has been for...

Pakistan Operational Risk Coverage (9)

Pakistan Operational Risk

BMI View:

BMI View: Pakistan is a regional and global underperformer on the BMI Operational Risk Index and investors are faced with significant economic, governance and security challenges that create an uncompetitive environment. Pervasive corruption and lack of transparency continues to raise legal risks and drive up operational costs - affecting all levels of the government and judicial system. Political and military interference in the economy and within the inefficient judicial system is also prevalent. We highlight that...

Pakistan Crime & Security

BMI View:

BMI View: Severe and pervasive security risks pose a significant deterrent to investment in Pakistan. Despite a strong and politically influential military, the absence of the state is a problem in many regions, allowing criminal and terrorist activity to flourish and pose multiple security threats to businesses. The most pertinent risks stem from the potential for terrorist attacks, which may target foreign workers and businesses, and frequently occur throughout the country. Sectarian violence and communal strife further adds to the climate of insecurity, while criminal organisations are the main source of a range of illicit activities which affect legitimate businesses, including extortion, kidnapping, armed robbery, money laundering, production of counterfeit goods and corruption. Finally, cyber crime is an increasing concern, and attempts by the government to improve online security have largely been counter-...

Pakistan Labour Market

BMI View:

BMI View: Investors in Pakistan are presented with considerable risks when it comes to the country's labour market. Years of neglect mean that the education system is failing, with low enrolment and attendance rates resulting in a lack of basic skills among the majority of the workforce. Despite the large working age population in the country, availability of labour is restricted due to a low level of female participation and poor general health reflected in the low life expectancy in Pakistan. These factors largely offset the potential benefits of a competitive minimum wage and flexible labour market conditions. Overall, Pakistan receives a score of 40.9 out of 100 for Labour Market Risk, which places the country 34th...

Pakistan Logistics

BMI View:

BMI View: Businesses operating in Pakistan will face considerable challenges when it comes to logistics. Although the country offers competitive electricity and fuel costs, interruptions to supply are frequent, which is a deterrent for heavy power users and Pakistan is facing a severe water shortage. The costs of importing and exporting are relatively low; however this benefit is offset by the long lead times caused by the weak internal transport infrastructure in Pakistan. While Pakistan does offer enormous growth potential, at present it does not have the infrastructure to match and as a result the country has a score of 47.6 out of 100 on the BMI Logistics Risk Index. This puts Pakistan in 19...

Pakistan Trade & Investment

BMI View:

Trade and investment risks are very high in Pakistan owing to the country's high fiscal and trade barriers and the extent of red tape plaguing its bureaucracy. Compounded by the volatile domestic security situation, foreign investment outflow in recent years has slowed, a trend we expect to continue in the foreseeable future. That said, the country's developed banking system provides good access to international financial markets. For these reasons, the country has an overall score of 29.5 out of 100 for Trade and Investment, putting it in 24th position out of 30 countries in Asia.

Following a sharp rise in foreign direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, since 2008 it has slowed significantly, and currently accounts for just 11.8% of Pakistan's total GDP. For the most part, inconsistent economic policies, high fiscal and trade barriers, high corporate tax rates and poor infrastructure are responsible for this...

Pakistan Industry Coverage (16)

Agribusiness

Pakistan Agribusiness

BMI View:

BMI View: We take a cautious view of the prospects for the Pakistani agribusiness sector. There are numerous challenges facing producers of all commodities covered by this report, chief among them a dire security situation, erratic power supply, lack of available finance and vulnerability to extreme weather events. Nevertheless, the government has taken some positive steps to improve the availability of higher-quality seeds for rice, wheat and corn, which should raise yields in the medium term. We also note that there have been recent positive developments in the country's energy sector that, if sustained, could prove beneficial for cotton and rice producers in particular....

Autos

Pakistan Autos

BMI View:

BMI View: We believe demand momentum for Pakistan's auto sector will remain strong in FY2015/16, and forecast vehicle sales to grow by 18.2%. The positive outlook is underpinned by favourable monetary conditions, which will help to lower credit costs for potential car buyers, while the government's taxi scheme will also continue to spur demand momentum over the coming quarters.

Passenger Car and Light Commercial Vehicle Sales
(2013-2019)
f = BMI forecast. Source: PAMA, BMI
Key...

Commercial Banking

Pakistan Commercial Banking

BMI View:

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Commercial Banking Sector Indicators
Date Total assets Client loans Bond portfolio Other Liabilities and capital Capital Client deposits

Consumer Electronics

Pakistan Consumer Electronics

BMI View:

BMI View: Low penetration rates and rising incomes provide a solid backdrop for strong growth in consumer electronics spending in Pakistan over the medium term, which should enable it to record one of the fastest growth rates in APAC as the more mature East Asian emerging markets approach saturation in key device categories. There are still substantial operational risks in Pakistan, and the income profile is low, but we believe it is moving to a stronger growth trajectory as several positive trends converge. The smartphone market is already booming after the roll-out of 3G services and supply of cheap smartphones increased, and ...

Defence & Security

Pakistan Defence & Security

BMI View:

BMI View: The state-dominated Pakistani defence industry still lacks advanced design and development capabilities in most segments, which means that the country remains heavily reliant on foreign partners to meet its armed forces' requirements. However, joint ventures with China have allowed local manufacturers to benefit from technology transfer in recent years, and tanks, combat aircraft and armed UAVs are now produced in-country. As a result, Pakistani defence exports are rising - particularly to developing countries looking for affordable equipment. Islamabad is under pressure to maintain defence expenditure growth, as the government must keep powerful military officials satisfied in order to ensure political stability, amid an...

Food & Drink

Pakistan Food & Drink

BMI View:

BMI View: Pakistan will be the lowest ranking within the Asia Pacific region owing to high operational and security risks. Investment in the MGR sector will be the most affected, with very limited international players, which leaves the formal retail industry highly underdeveloped. The food and beverage segment will experience more positive investment, benefiting from growing household spending and a large consumer base on the back of increased spending on essential foods.

Food and Drink Spending
(2013-2020)
...

Freight Transport

Pakistan Freight Transport

BMI View:

The freight mix in Pakistan is set to perform moderately in both the short and medium term, with growth constricted somewhat by the parlous state of many integral economies at present. Also, domestic strife, such as the road blockade in Punjab in August 2014, has had a detrimental effect on freight output and such scenarios could flare up again into 2015.

Export cargo worth USD600mn came to a standstill in August 2014 due to a road blockade in the province of Punjab, according to exporters and shipping line sources and reported by Business Recorder. The tussle between the Pakistani government and opposition political parties - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehrik - has resulted in a virtual collapse to businesses, trade, social and exports activities in the province. This could have a significant detrimental impact on the Pakistan freight industry should further blockades take place going forward.

The...

Infrastructure

Pakistan Infrastructure

BMI View:

BMI View: Pakistan's construction sector continues to face major headwinds. Widespread corruption, lack of protection for property owners and limited government spending are all hampering growth, as is the worsening security situation which continues to deter potential foreign investors. The country's growth potential is substantial - transport, utilities and social/residential infrastructure are suffering from years of underinvestment and Pakistan's large labour pool and extensive natural resources mean that, should the investment environment improve, growth could be rapid. At present, however, this potential is unlikely to be realised and growth will remain subdued.

Forecasts and Latest Updates

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping has signed an...

Insurance

Pakistan Insurance

BMI View:

BMI View : As of late 2015, the most recent reports from the insurance companies themselves indicate that trends are favourable across most sub-sectors of the non-life segment. The strong premiums growth of private sector life insurance companies through H115, suggest that the risks to our forecasts for that segment are very much to the upside.

Latest Updates And Forecasts

The leading players in both the non-life and the life segments of Pakistan's insurance sector are well- established and have the strengths to cope with a notoriously challenging business environment. In both segments, the players have achieved good growth in premiums and profits through H115.

Recent news indicates that non-life premiums should increase by 12% in 2015. We anticipate that premiums will rise by just under 10%...

Medical Devices

Pakistan Medical Devices

BMI View:

BMI View: The Pakistan medical device market is small for a country its size.Domestic production is limited primarilytosteel surgical instruments and the majority of the market is supplied byimports.We are projecting a lower US dollar2014-2019CAGR growth rate of around 2%. The devaluation of the localcurrency against the US dollar will result in a comparatively lower growth rate during the forecast period.

...
Projected Medical Device Market, 2014-2019
Total (USDmn) Per Capita (USD)

Oil & Gas

Pakistan Oil & Gas

BMI View:

BMI View: Greater availability of gas supplies via LNG imports and expanding pipeline gas trades with regional suppliers will allow Pakistan's gas imports to grow steadily over the coming years. The country will remain a substantial net importer of crude oil and refined fuels, as domestic production prove increasingly insufficient to offset rising demand.

...
Headline Forecasts (Pakistan 2014-2020)
2014 2015e 2016f 2017f

Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

Pakistan Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

BMI View:

BMI View: Healthcare expenditure in Pakistan will grow strongly, albeit from a low base. Central to this trajectory is the rise in household incomes as out-of-pocket health spending remains a dominant source of healthcare financing. This is further supported by the higher health expenditure by administrative unit authorities which have outlined long-term medical strategies. At the sub-national level, the strongest commercial prospects for pharmaceutical and medical device companies will be in the more economically developed provinces of Punjab and Sindh.

Headline Expenditure Projections

  • Pharmaceuticals: PKR252bn (USD2.5bn) in 2015 to PRK274bn (USD2.6bn) 2016; +8.5%in local currency terms and +5.1% in US dollar terms.

  • Healthcare: PKR741bn (USD7.2bn) in 2015...

Power

Pakistan Power

BMI View:

BMI View : A lack of generation capacity, insufficient investment, as well as fuel and water shortages have narrowed the supply/demand margin considerably, negatively impacting economic activity across Pakistan. Supply shortages will be a dominant theme clouding Pakistan's power sector over the near term. Over the medium- to long term, the incorporation of non-hydro renewables into the electricity mix, the surge in coal-fired power generation - and consequently the significant decline in oil-fired power generation - will be the key market dynamics.

Latest Updates And Structural Trends

  • Progress in the...

Real Estate

Pakistan Real Estate

BMI View:

BMI View: The economy is performing well, with a series of positive developments over 2014 and 2015. These include governmental reforms that have reduced political tensions through the dilution of power and development of a more transparent business environment. We believe these improvements, along with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, will spur investment in the commercial real estate market. However, regional tensions, security risks and low GDP per capita limit the market's growth potential.

We forecast real GDP growth y-o-y to remain above 4% between 2016 and 2020, indicating stability in the broader economy. However, operational risk is still a key issue, with concerns over security and corruption continuing to affect the level of investment into the country. Other issues that damage investor confidence include inadequate power supplies and transport...

Shipping

Pakistan Shipping

BMI View:

BMI View: BMI forecasts healthy growth at Pakistan's two major ports, both based around the largest city in the country, Karachi. Both the Port of Karachi and the Port of Muhammad Bin Qasim are set to post positive growth in 2016 and throughout the rest of our forecast in the medium term to 2019. While growth will plateau at steady rates at both ports, the Port of Muhammad Bin Qasim will see more robust growth than that of the Port of Karachi, particularly in terms of container throughput. We forecast that Pakistan will see comfortable macroeconomic growth over our short- and medium-term forecast period, and highlight that the country's efforts to diversify trade out of its current core trade partners could pay dividends to the shipping sector in particular in the long term.

Both Major Ports To See Growth In 2016

...

Telecommunications

Pakistan Telecommunications

BMI View:

BMI View: We maintain a positive outlook for the Pakistani mobile market going forward into our current forecast period through to 2020. Mobilink 's plan to acquire Warid received regulatory approval and the consolidation process is now underway. This will put significant pressure on competitors, especially CMPak (Zong), which has few strategic options other than to proceed with a USD1bn investment in its mobile-only business. The deal would not create an excessively-powerful player, but renewed price competition is expected and the negative impact on ARPUs can only be offset by increased uptake of premium services. This will be difficult in the prepaid-centric market, but the merger will at least motivate reviews of current business strategies....

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Latest Pakistan Blogs

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